Over this past month, I have had a lot of changes to adjust to which, although are super exciting, has caused me stress and anxiety. But as I’ve been grappling with this, I’ve asked myself: is it my diagnoses of OCD and anxiety playing a part here or is it just a “normal” response to a stressful situation?
So first off, I have been offered my first “proper” job! Although I have worked on and off since the age of 17, this is the first job that I consider to be related to my years of studying psychology and counselling and, as a result, is the first job I am feeling extra passionate and excited about! Alongside this pretty big life change, I am also moving to the concrete jungle of Birmingham. More specifically, into a flat with my partner.
These two pretty big life changes make me feel giddy with excitement. After leaving university and hitting multiple dead ends for so long (you can read about that here), I finally feel as though things are coming together for me. I am finally achieving things that still seemed a while off.
However… I do tend to become very anxious when big life changes happen, no matter how exciting and positive they are. Particularly when I feel like I’m lacking control of the situation.
In my case, OCD revolves around my lack of control in life. When I think about something going wrong, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of unease and anxiety, feelings of which I find too much to just sit with. Because of this, I manipulate objects in my environment to bring back that sense of control. If I can’t control something or carrying out a ritual doesn’t calm my anxiety then that worry will firmly bury its way in my mind and refuse to move until I feel content that it’s been sorted.
Some of you reading this may know what moving into rented accommodation is like, particularly when going through a letting agency. It can take a good while to sort everything out; answers to questions take days rather than hours and there are hidden fees popping up left, right and centre that you didn’t account for. Some of you reading this may even know what that’s like added to sorting things out for a new job and I think the word ‘overwhelming’ sums it up perfectly!
I have spent these last few weeks feeling pretty anxious and unable to think of much else aside from these massive changes happening. There have been times when I have been lying awake in the early hours of the morning thinking about stupid little things like: “Did the flat have curtains?” and “Will I need a tin opener?” These are questions I’m sure you’ll agree don’t need answering at 3:30am. I have found it particularly hard not being able to control other people’s actions including providing quicker answers, being organised and making decisions.
But is this OCD? Am I blaming my behaviour and concerns on my diagnosis rather than cutting myself some slack and looking at the situation objectively?
The truth: moving to a new house is stressful. Moving in with a partner for the first time is a BIG DEAL. Being offered your first proper job, one you really care about, is exciting but terrifying! Sure, my OCD may have become a little more aggravated because of this but what I’m learning is that it doesn’t really matter what is considered a “normal” response. This is my response. And as long as I can manage it and know that the horrid feeling of anxiety always passes, then I’ll be just fine.
I’ve decided that because I have a lot going on at the moment, there won’t be a blog post next week. Then, throughout November, I am going to be publishing a guest blog post each week from various authors about OCD! I am by the way still looking for people willing to get involved in this so if it sounds like something you fancy, gimme a bell via the contact form.
This means, dear readers, that I won’t be writing anything on here again until December. It seems a long way off but ultimately, the right decision for me.
Take care everyone, speak soon x